‹‹ Colorado Postcards

Emily Griffith

Listen Now
1min 00sec
Wikimedia Commons
A stained glass window depicting Emily Griffith in the Colorado State Capitol in Denver, Colorado.
Emily Griffith

Colorado schools in the 19th century were not free, which kept many poor children from getting a formal education. Denver teacher Emily Griffith knew poverty from her childhood in Ohio, and saw how education could transform lives.
As deputy state superintendent of instruction, Griffith was determined to start a free school for people of all ages.

With just five teachers and a condemned building, she opened the doors to the Emily Griffith Opportunity School in 1916. Classes were offered thirteen hours a day, which allowed working students to walk into classes whenever they could for vocational or academic training.

By the time she retired, more than a hundred thousand people had attended, and the school established Denver as a national leader in adult education. But Emily Griffith’s greatest legacy could lie in the worth and dignity she saw in every student, and the respect she gave to all.

About Colorado Postcards

Colorado Postcards

Colorado Postcards are snapshots of our colorful state in sound. They give brief insights into our people and places, our flora and fauna, and our past and present, from every corner of Colorado.